TOrch Project

From October 2016 - April 2018, I will be working on the TOrch project in collaboration with the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany.

TOrch is short for "Teacher Orchestration". The aim of the project is to design and test the effectiveness of Teacher Dashboards for orchestrating math education in primary schools.

This project is supported by NWO through a Rubicon grant [grant number 446-16-003/1276].

Summary of TOrch project

When supported by computer software, collaboration leaves “digital traces”. The collection and analysis of these traces (i.e., learning analytics; LA) has the potential to help teachers move from overload to overview of students’ collaboration. Moreover, LA cannot only aid teachers by mirroring student activities, but also automate evaluation and intervention. The question is which level of LA-aid is optimal to enable adaptive teacher support of collaboration. The goal of this project is to investigate what information teachers need, how teachers perceive the usefulness of dashboards, and whether dashboards can influence teacher support of collaboration.

Research team

Principal investigators: dr. Anouschka van Leeuwen and Professor Nikol Rummel (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany).

To support student collaboration and the teacher dashboard, we make use of the CTAT and MathTutor software developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Associate professor Vincent Aleven takes on an advisory role in the TOrch project. 

Publications related to TOrch

Van Leeuwen, A., & Rummel, N. (2017). Teacher regulation of collaborative learning: research directions for learning analytics dashboards. Proceedings of the 12th international conference on Computer-supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2017, Volume 1, pp 805-806.

Van Leeuwen, A., Van Wermeskerken, M., Erkens, G., & Rummel, N. (2017). Measuring teacher sense making strategies of learning analytics: a case study. Learning: research and practice3(1), 42-58. 

Van Leeuwen, A., Van Wermeskerken, M., & Erkens, G. (2016). Eye tracking and thinking aloud procedures to study how teachers use learning analytics. Presentation at the EARLI SIG27 meeting in Oulu, Finland.


06/2017 Presentation at CSCL conference

The CSCL2017 conference was hosted in Philadelphia this year. The TOrch project was represented with a poster, which outlines an agenda for future research in the area of teacher dashboards.

To read the paper with further details, please see the proceedings of the conference (pp 805-806), which can be found here

05/2017 Short promo on Dutch MathTutor

We created a short video with an impression of the Dutch translation of MathTutor, which we call 'BreukenMeester'. Please note all text in the video is in Dutch. 

05/2017 Article online

The article detailing our eye-tracking study is now online. This paper provides a short discussion of the hypothesised affordances of LA for supporting teachers, and subsequently, a case study is presented in which a teacher’s sense making strategies of LA were investigated within a digital environment, which enabled the teacher to monitor and regulate the activities of five collaborating groups of students. Besides automatically logged teacher behaviour, eye tracking was used to examine eye movements, and cued retrospective reporting was used to evaluate the choices and decisions made by the teacher. The case study is used to discuss directions for future research concerning learning analytics to support teachers.

You can find the full article here

04/2017 Data collection with MathTutor

The first classroom study was conducted this month. We translated existing fraction tasks into Dutch, and had students in gade 6 collaborate on them. I think the students had quite some fun, and after the first session became quite apt with the program. 

12/2017 Merry Christmas from Bochum!

Can't believe the first three months of the project have already passed. Wishing everybody happy holidays and a good start into 2018!

11/2017 Data collection with eye tracker

We have conducted a first pilot study, investigating whether eye-tracking methodology may help us to better understand how teachers use learning analytics/dashboards. An impression of the data collection procedure can be seen on this picture.

10/2017 Start of the project

The TOrch project has started! Looking forward to an inspiring time in Bochum.